GTA 5’s ‘Kick Ass’ Story DLC Scrapped Because GTA Online ‘Was Such a Cash Cow,’ Claims Former Rockstar Dev

A former Rockstar developer has said that the company canceled a standalone Grand Theft Auto 5 story DLC because GTA Online proved to be a “cash cow” shortly after launch.

Joe Robino, who worked as a senior cameraman and virtual cinematographer at Rockstar’s New York office from 2010 to 2016, explained on the YouTube channel SanInPlay why the much-rumored GTA 5 story DLC fell into oblivion after GTA 5’s release in September 2013.

“A lot of the team immediately went to work on Red Dead Redemption 2 and I took on this other project, a standalone DLC for GTA that never came out and it was amazing,” Robino revealed.

“That was my thing. I was one of the editors-in-chief, camera people, and on-stage stuff. We split our teams in two. I stayed with GTA Online and then this DLC, which Steven Ogg [the actor who played Trevor Philips] was a very important part of.

“And then some team members overlapped and went to RDR2 early on, and then we just did this [flipped motion]because when that game was on the shelf, we spent so much money… a lot of that stuff ended up in later iterations of GTA Online, I think. So it’s not like they wasted it.

“It was really, really good. But when GTA Online came out it was such a cash cow and people loved it so much that it was hard to argue that a standalone DLC would top that. I think now, looking back, you could probably do both. But that was a business decision that they made. I was a little angry about that.

“That was actually one of the reasons I was a little sour at the time. Because I was like, yo, WTF guys? This shit is amazing. Let’s keep going. Let’s finish this shit.”

IGN has reached out to Rockstar for comment.

I was like, yo, WTF guys? This shit is amazing. Let’s keep going. Let’s finish this shit.

Fans have had snippets of information about GTA 5’s legendary story DLC for years. Steven Ogg even spoke about it and what it would entail. “Trevor was supposed to go undercover, he was working with the feds,” Ogg said. “We shot some of that stuff with ‘James Bond Trevor,’ where he’s still a bit of a faggot, but he’s trying his best. And then it just disappeared and they never did it, they never did anything with it.”

GTA dataminers have also discovered a reference to Trevor with a jetpack, suggesting that the story mode DLC has been reworked into GTA Online, as Robino says. In 2018, Rockstar finally revealed GTA Online Doomsday Heist Missions alongside the Thruster, a jetpack that remains exclusive to multiplayer to this day.

Rockstar is now focused on preparing GTA 6 for a fall 2025 release window. There are a number of questions fans have about Rockstar’s plans, including whether GTA 6, unlike GTA 5, will receive story DLC. And what will happen to the current version of GTA Online when GTA 6 inevitably introduces its own version?

Meanwhile, in the same interview, Robino discussed the well-documented bottlenecks and secrecy that Rockstar staff had to endure while working on GTA 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2. “We were probably halfway there [the GTA5 story DLC]and we took a break from it,” he said. “I was also doing GTA Online at the time, and I was also doing RDR2. We were all doing that. We were working a lot, man. For six or seven years, I was working with our team almost 365 days a year.”

For years, Rockstar had a notorious reputation within the video game industry for its brutal crunch during the development of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead games. However, following the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018 and the shocking stories surrounding the human cost of its development, media reports suggested that changes had been made to the company’s culture to prevent a similar fate from occurring during the development of GTA 6.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].

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